The UK is bracing for the coldest temperature in 14 years, according to the Met Office, with parts of Scotland potentially reaching -15°C. Freezing temperature and snow are expected to persist throughout the week due to a cold plunge of Arctic air, which has made temperature 5-6°C lower than usual for this time of year. The last time temperatures dropped to such lows was in January 2010 when -22.3°C was recorded.
A Met Office spokesperson attributed the unusually low temperatures to the prolonged nature of the cold spell and the direct flow of exceptionally cold air from the Arctic. The cold weather is expected to continue until Friday before potentially disruptive stormy conditions arrive over the weekend. The spokesperson noted that the buildup of snow during the extended cold spell contributes to progressively colder temperatures.
Scotland has already experienced over 100 school closures, and drivers in north-west England, including Merseyside, Cheshire, and Cumbria, have faced challenging conditions. Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in effect for Scotland, much of northern England, and parts of north Wales until Thursday. The Met Office forecasts more mild temperatures, along with wind and rain, after the cold spell.
North-west Scotland could see more than 40cm of snow on high ground by the end of Friday, with lower elevations receiving between 5cm and 10cm by the end of the working week. Thousands of households in England and Wales are eligible for cold weather payments to assist vulnerable individuals, including pensioners, in covering heating costs during freezing temperatures.
The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold-health alert, cautioning about potential impacts on the health and social care sector. National Highways has also implemented a severe weather alert for snow in north-west England, advising road users to plan ahead, while some rural communities are warned of potential temporary isolation due to the weather conditions.
As the cold weather persists, more than 40cm of snow is expected on high ground in north-west Scotland by the end of Friday, and lower elevations could see between 5cm and 10cm by the conclusion of the working week. The challenging weather conditions have already led to the closure of over 100 schools in Scotland, and drivers in north-west England are contending with difficult road conditions.
Amidst the frigid temperature, the UK government has confirmed that thousands of households in England and Wales are eligible for cold weather payments. These payments are intended to assist vulnerable individuals, including pensioners, in meeting heating costs when temperatures drop below freezing. Areas covered by these payments include Cumbria, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Norfolk, Staffordshire, and Powys.
The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold-health alert, signaling potential impacts on the health and social care sector. Additionally, National Highways has implemented a severe weather alert for snow in north-west England. Road users are advised to plan ahead, and some rural communities have been warned that they could face temporary isolation due to the severe weather conditions.
Looking ahead, the Met Office predicts a shift in weather conditions over the weekend, with the possibility of disruptive stormy weather. This forecast suggests a significant change in weather patterns, introducing milder temperatures along with wind and rain.
As the UK navigates these extreme weather conditions, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of the population, especially in areas directly affected by heavy snowfall and icy conditions. Authorities are actively monitoring the situation and providing timely alerts to help residents and travelers prepare for the challenges posed by the cold spell and potential storms.